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Gov. Wolf, PEMA urge people to stay off roads Tuesday

SUSQUEHANNA TWP., Pa. – Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency had one big message for Commonwealth residents Monday in advance of a storm that could drop more than a foot of snow: stay off the roads.

“You’re going to put yourself and you’re going to be putting other people at risk if you go out into this weather,” Gov. Wolf said. “That’s just the way it works.”

One thing that will be tested for the first time will be emergency supplies along the Pennsylvania Turnpike for stranded motorists. They are not meant to be replacements for good advance preparedness, rather to be used in a true emergency situation, officials said.

That stems from the big winter storm in 2016 that caused all sorts of problems for turnpike travelers.

“Within a two hour drive of any one mile post, we do have resources stored and those resources range from water, energy bars, blankets, as well as snow shovels, so all those are in locations at the ready in case we would need them in an event like this,” Turnpike CEO Mark Compton said.

PEMA will coordinate resources statewide, including almost 700 members of the Pennsylvania National Guard who will be deployed to help first responders and county emergency managers.

“We’re coordinating with our county emergency management agencies,” PEMA director Rick Flinn said. “We have made calls to each one of them asking for identification of whether they want liaisons there, both guard as well as PEMA, and we’ve gone ahead and are gathering information from them.”

Governor Wolf says he also signed an emergency proclamation clearing the way for agencies to acquire supplies and providing consumer protections during the storm against the potential for price gouging at gas stations and grocery stores.

He made a plea to business owners to let their workers stay home and off the roads.

“If you can avoid travel, don’t go to work tomorrow,” Gov. Wolf said. “Tuesday is going to be a good day to stay home because the fewer people who travel on the roads, the faster and more efficiently our road crews can take care of the roads.”